Philippe Starck is a French product designer who has designed everything from toothbrushes to hotel interiors and is now creative director of interior design company Yoo. His simple, iconic and often startling designs entered the mass market when in 2002 he created a number of beautifully designed, but inexpensive, products for Target stores. Starck writes in a blog post for Wired about what creativity means to him: “Creativity is almost a mortal sickness. It’s not easy to be happy and creative: With creativity comes great anxiety, great effort, great desire for love. To be creative, you have to be curious, generous, to want to try to understand.” For Starck, to be creative, “it helps to live a sort of modern monk’s life. I go early to bed and wake up a little earlier than others because the peak — the hormonal peak of creativity — is around seven o’clock in the morning. To be creative, you can’t be intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. You cannot be intoxicated by poison coming from industrial food. You have to go to the gym and have a lot of sex (although not necessarily in that order!). You also need to live consciously avoid mainstream thinking. If you go out every night for dinner or to a cocktail party, where you speak with everybody, you cannot create because you just end up just repeating what people tell you. You get very comfortable and very unoriginal. The only way to create is to be alone, in front of a white, blank sheet of paper or your computer in the middle of nowhere. It’s the best way to find only your ideas, your intuition.” For most, the idea of living a monk’s life to unleash their creativity isn’t an option, and luckily it isn’t necessary, but it does require some concentrated effort. Creativity is not a a gift that only a select few are given – we all have it, and if we treat it like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly it will only grow stronger!